How to do a fun and insightful last Sprint Retrospective of the year?

Erik Stoffer facilitated a retrospective to look back at last year by drawing a timeline to share insights, learnings and experiences. They directly looked forward what to expect in the first part of 2020 by visualizing this.

1️⃣ [5 min] Set the stage: Creating a soft-landing after the Sprint Review by discussing the Sprint Review feedback. And sharing that we are going to look back on the year behind us because it is the last Sprint Retrospective of the year.

2️⃣ [5 min] Check-in: Question “If the last sprint (two weeks) was a season – what would it be, and why?” We did a round (popcorn-style) of approx. 1 minute each.

Looking back

3️⃣[5 min to draw, 8 min for feedback] Collect input: Grab an empty paper and draw a timeline of how you experienced last year with the team (think of successes, failures, go-lives, process changes, team changes, events, trainings, conferences, etc.) Everyone presented his / her drawing with a short voice-over.

4️⃣ [2 min, 5 min for feedback] Discover learnings: Populate your timeline with things you learned by using “dot voting” sticker. Everyone presented his / her learnings with a short voice-over.

Looking forward

5️⃣ [5 min to draw, 8 min for feedback] Collect input: Grab an empty paper and visualize how you expect the first part of the year could look like (taking the learnings, team goals and personal goals into account). I invited everyone to only focus on the first 3 to 6 months of the year. After visualizing this, everyone presented his / her drawing with a short voice-over.

6️⃣ [5 min] Closing: To close the retrospective everyone ended with: “One word on how you are feeling about the next year”.


Everyone in the team had the chance to retrospect and share on how they experienced the year with the team. Funny fact: some shared experiences of a few months ago which already were forgotten by other team members. 

It was challenging but insightful to already share the expectations for the first part of next year on team-  and personal level. This way we were able to create a shared expectation on the first part of 2020. And this was also an opportunity to sync on the team goals and ask help on personal goals from each other.

💭 Next time I think I will experiment with adding one more step, by inviting the team members – after drawing their version of next year between step 5 and 6 – to draw next year together so we can hang this at the team spot.

If you have other ideas or insights on this Retrospective, please drop a message below. Or if you do this retrospective with your own team, please let me know your feedback 🙂

Used materials:

📑 Flip over with the agenda

⌚️ Time Timer (for timeboxing)

⬜️ Empty paper (A4 format)

✏️ Markers, Sharpies

🔴 “dot voting” stickers

Scrum on!

P.s. he bumped into this blog of Sam Laing, which was what inspired him to design the retrospective as described above. Originally posted here:

How to reveal team secrets with 120 bricks in just 20 minutes

In short, there are four steps:

  1. Warmup round to get familiarized with building metaphors using bricks and storytelling.
  2. Build round 1: build and explain your own team and your relationship to it.
  3. Build round 2: build and explain your wish for your team.
  4. Finally, reflect and share observations with each other by using a 1-2-4-ALL Liberating Structure.

Continue to read the step by step facilitation guide by Swen-Peter Ekkebus for this fun way to reveal team secrets:

Remote Resources


Brainstorming and Planning

  • A Web Whiteboard. “A touch-friendly online whiteboard app that makes drawing, collaboration, and sharing easy.” (
  • Batterii. “Instead of working across many one-dimensional tools like Pinterest, Dropbox, dscout, and Powerpoint, Batterii brings everything together in one place.” (
  • Cardboard. “Add cards and organize them into story maps. Once you’ve added some cards, you can start thinking about where you want to take your customers. Framing customer journeys through a story map helps you visualize user experiences, workflows, or test paths.” (
  • Coggle. “Produce beautiful notes quickly and easily. Share them with friends and colleagues to work on your ideas together.” (
  • Conceptboard. “Visual online collaboration for creative and remote teams — getting projects from initial idea to final approval.” (
  • Dropbox Paper. “A new type of doc where teams can create together in a single space.” (
  • Groupboard. “A free collaborative online whiteboard app that can be easily embedded into your website.” (
  • GroupMap. Customisable brainstorming templates for meetings and workshops that help your team think better together. Prioritise and create action items that matter. (
  • IdeaBoardz. “Brainstorm, retrospect, collaborate.” (
  • iObeya. “Collaborate visually anywhere in real time from your computer, tablet, or touch display.” (
  • Kumu.  “Makes it easy to organize complex data into relationship maps that are beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use.” (
  • Limnu. “Sketch, share, and collaborate with your team like never before.” (
  • Lino. “Free sticky and canvas services that requires nothing but a web browser.” (
  • MeetingSphere. “Workshop tools for professionals.” MeetingSphere Pro is for subject matter experts and professional facilitators. MeetingSphere One is designed for people who want to actually get an outcome from the group during a conference call and is targeted at all types of people who need to call online meetings, but are not necessarily subject matter experts, nor professional facilitators. (
  • Miro. “Your company-wide normalization layer for notes, media, data, and other inputs—all from different sources and in different formats.” (
  • Mixed. “Real-time whiteboard for distributed teams.” (
  • Mural. “Think and collaborate visually. Anywhere, anytime.” (
  • NoteApp. “Bring sticky notes to your team, in real time.” (
  • Popplet. “A tool for the iPad and web to capture and organize your ideas.” (
  • Post-it Plus App. “Simply capture your notes, organize, and then share with everyone.” (
  • Scribblar. “Online whiteboard and collaboration.” (
  • Scribble. “Your whiteboard companion to any call.” (
  • Stormboard. “An online sticky note whiteboard that makes meetings, brainstorms, and creative projects more productive and effective.” (
  • TeamUp Labs. “Example Mapping is an engaging way for teams to create a shared understanding for every story. Be sure to use TeamUp Labs Example Mapping tool for every kickoff.” (
  • Twiddla. “Mark up websites, graphics, and photos, or start drawing on a blank canvas. Browse the web with your students or make that remote tutoring session more productive than ever. ” (
  • Web Whiteboard. “The simplest way to instantly draw and write together online. Nothing to install or learn. Passwords and accounts are entirely optional. Just create an online whiteboard with one click, and share it live by sending the link to people..” (
  • Whiteboard Fox. “Share a virtual whiteboard in real-time using any modern web browser.” (
  • Ziteboard. “A zoomable online whiteboard with realtime collaboration and simple teamworking to visualize your ideas, enhance your meetings, improve your tutoring sessions and design together.” (

Collaborative Touchscreens

Decision Making

Document Editing and Wikis

  • Confluence. “Content collaboration software that changes how modern teams work.” (
  • Draft. “When you share your document using Draft, any changes your collaborator makes are on their own copy of the document, and you get to accept or ignore each individual change they make.” (
  • Etherpad. “A highly customizable open-source online editor providing collaborative editing in real-time.” (
  • Google Docs. “Create a new document and edit with others at the same time—from your computer, phone, or tablet. Get stuff done with or without an internet connection. Use Docs to edit Word files. Free from Google.” (
  • Guru. “Capture an answer [in Slack] the first time it’s asked by using an emoji reaction. Guru will prompt you to create and save that content to a card that can be reused by the whole team.” (
  • Nuclino. “The easy knowledge base for teams.” (
  • Quip. “Combines documents, spreadsheets, checklists, and team chat in one place.” (
  • Slite. “A super simple app for teams to write notes, create their wiki and work on docs together.” (
  • SMASHDOCs. “Create, review, and produce professional documents with other people through your own web browser.” (
  • Tettra. “A company wiki that helps Slack teams manage and share organizational knowledge.” (

Mind Mapping

  • Canva. A free, ready-made templates and simple, drag and drop design tools that help you create a perfect mind map in minutes. (
  • Edraw Max. “An all-in-one diagram software, which can simplify the creation of over 200 types of diagrams such as business presentations, building plans, mind maps, science illustration, fashion designs, UML diagrams, workflows, wireframes, electrical diagrams, p&id diagram, directional maps, database diagrams, and more.” (
  • Lighten. “Mind mapping and brainstorming software.” (
  • Milanote. “Mind-mapping meets note-taking.” Milanote lets you organize your ideas as beautiful, collaborative mind-maps. (
  • MindMeister. “Online mind-mapping tool that lets you capture, develop, and share ideas visually (
  • MindMup. “Easy to use Mind mapping tool that you can save files to google drive at no cost”. (
  • MindNode. “Visualize your ideas. Start with a central thought and then brainstorm, organize, and share your mind maps.” (
  • Scapple. “Ever scribbled ideas on a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts? Then you already know what Scapple does. It’s a virtual sheet of paper that lets you make notes anywhere and connect them using lines or arrows.” (
  • XMind. “Mind mapping and brainstorming software.” (


Group Chat

  • Chanty. “A simple and fast team chat app that helps teams in all business segments communicate effectively and get the most out of collaboration.” (
  • Glip. “Team messaging, file sharing, and video that you’ll fall in love with.” (
  • Fleep. “A flexible messenger that integrates with email and lets you store and share files easily.” (
  • Front. “The shared in-box for teams. All your emails, apps, and teammates in one collaborative workspace.” (
  • Mattermost. “a flexible, open source messaging platform that enables secure team collaboration.” (
  • Saba. “Collaboration and social tools to help employees work with real-time information and continuous conversations, no matter where they are located.” (
  • Slack. Team conversations in open or private channels. (
  • Teampus. “The local social network for temporary, log free shares.” (
  • Twist. “Keeps your conversations on-topic and in one place.” (


Video Conferencing

  • Amazon Chime. “Frustration-free online meetings with exceptional audio and video quality.”(
  • An easy, instant way to have a shared-screen video call. Someone creates a link to a room and sends it to others. No registration needed. (
  • BlueJeans. “Video, audio, and web conferencing that works with the collaboration tools you use every day.”
  • Catch. Send quick video messages that expire after twenty-four hours. (
  • Collabify. Online meetings made easy. No registration. No log in. No worries. Just one click. (
  • Cyclops. One-click video conferencing with no download, no login, for up to eight people. (
  • 1-click video calls, with more. (
  • Discord. “All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that’s free, secure, and works on both your desktop and phone.” (
  • 8×8. A unified communication system, VoIP and a wealth of resources for business, big and small, to learn more about the benefits of cloud communications and how these tools can help make remote work more effective. (https://www.8×
  • Freebird. “Quickly jump in and out of voice channels instead of scheduling calls. It’s so fast you’ll feel like you’re working side by side.” (
  • Gather. “A personalised web meeting platform shaped around your specific business needs.” (
  • GoToMeeting. “Online Meeting Software with HD Video Conferencing.” (
  • Hangouts Meet. Real-time meetings by Google. Using your browser, share your video, desktop, and presentations with teammates and customers. (
  • Jitsi Meet. “No downloads required. Jitsi Meet works directly within your browser. Simply share your conference URL with others to get started.” (
  • Free screen sharing, online meetings, and web conferencing. (
  • Lifesize. “Video conferencing in stunning 4K. Meet, collaborate, connect and inspire.” (
  • Loom. Google Chrome extension that allows you to record and share your screen and webcam. (
  • “A cloud-based video collaboration platform.” (
  • Meeting Owl. Intelligent 360-degree all-in-one video conferencing device. (
  • Odro. One-click online video meetings. (
  • Portal from Facebook. “Portal feels less like a video call and more like you’re in the same room — even when you’re miles apart.” (
  • Screencastify. “The #1 screen recorder for Chrome.” (
  • Shindig. Large-scale video chat events that allow you to present to an online audience of up to one thousand people. You can also take questions from the audience, provide audience with chat, and stream to YouTube or Facebook Live. (
  • Swivel. “Audio chat for remote teams with office-like acoustic interactions.” (
  • VideoFacilitator. “high levels of participant mobility, as well as intuitive and nonintrusive facilitator controls.”(
  • YAC. Talk with your team, no meetings or scheduling needed. Listen on your own time & stay in sync. (
  • Zoom. Enterprise video conferencing and web conferencing. (

Virtual Office

Working with colleagues in a virtual office can create a surprisingly strong sense of community and connection.

  • Bisner. “We empower coworking spaces around the globe to communicate and interact better with their community.”(
  • Complice. “Find people to work with. If there’s nobody else in a room, you can still go in it and invite your friends to join.” (
  • Hubs by Mozilla. Share a virtual room with friends. Watch videos, play with 3D objects, or just hang out. (
  • Myworkhive. “A social enterprise for parents, carers and anyone looking for a more flexible career that fits their life. (
  • My Digital Office. “A complete online digital workplace, with desks, rooms, and even an office phone. You get all of the benefits of having a brick-and-mortar office, without needing one.” (
  • Notion. “Write, plan, collaborate, and get organized. Notion is all you need — in one tool.” (
  • Pragli. “View the conversations in your office. Feel connected with your teammates with live avatars, periodic photos, or both.” (
  • PukkaTeam. “Bring your remote team together, get real team presence with automated selfie photos, and see their status throughout the day.” (
  • qube. “A virtual office that enables you to work remotely. See who’s chatting with coworkers, out of the office, or stepped out for lunch.” (
  • Remo. “Online office space for remote teams.” (
  • RemoteHQ. “Real-time collaboration for distributed teams” (
  • Sococo. Sococo offers a virtual office with a customizable floor plan. All logged-in workers’ avatars are visible, so everyone knows who is working. Includes options for group discussion rooms with video and screen sharing, a virtual water cooler chatting area, and a Do Not Disturb Room. (See my interview with some of the Sococo team at (
  • Tandem. Re-discover the flow of working together in‑person. See, talk to, and collaborate with your team in one click.
  • TeamSatus. “Empower you and your teammates to bring work and life into harmony—to be able to stay connected and collaborative no matter where in the world you’re located.”  (
  • VirBELA. “The Future of Work.  One world, achieving together.  VirBELA enables next-generation, remote collaboration.” (
  • Walkabout Workplace. “An award-winning online workplace connecting remote teams—seamlessly.” (
  • Wurkr. “A video platform that replicates your physical office – online! You can communicate and work with your distributed or remote colleagues visibly and in real-time wherever they may be.! (

Virtual Reality

Voice Conferencing


Online Meeting Managers and Accessories

  • ChromaCam. “A Windows desktop application that works with a standard webcam and all leading video chat apps.” (See my interview with some of the Personify team at (
  • Cogsworth. “Lets your customers book time with you when you are available.” (
  • descript. “From meeting notes to multitrack editing, Descript is the powerful, flexible, and easy to use home for your audio and video.”  (
  • DroidCam. “DroidCam turns your Android device into a wireless webcam,
    letting you chat on Skype, Google+, and other programs.”  (
  • Hugo. “The meeting note platform that makes meeting insights actionable and keeps your whole team in the loop.” (
  • Inpirometer. “Bringing the business culture of meetings out of the dark ages…” (
  • Kahoot! “Kahoot! makes it easy to create, share and play fun learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes.” (
  • Kiryl’s Facilitation Toolkit. “An extensive set of templates for different kinds of facilitated online sessions supported with guides and examples.” (
  • Klaxoon. “The meeting revolution”.  (
  • “Mute the background noise during your calls.” (
  • Lean Coffee Table. “Lean Coffee Table helps distributed teams to run effective ‘agenda-less’ Lean Coffee meetings. Lean Coffee is a wonderfully simple idea developed by Jim Benson and Jeremy Lightsmith.” (
  • Lucid Meetings. “Smart software for great meetings.” Helps you schedule times, send calendar reminders, agree on an agenda, log action items, gather user feedback, and use or create your own meeting templates. (
  • MeetingSphere. “Virtual workspaces for dynamic collaboration.” (
  • MeetingQuality. “Meetings with meaning.” (
  • Meeting Toolchest. “Resources to make your meetings more effective.” (
  • Mentimeter. “Interactive presentations, workshops, and meetings.” (
  • Meetingroom. “Connecting teams in a virtual reality meeting room from any device.” (
  • Nureva. “Advanced audio conferencing systems and real-time visual collaboration tools bring your team together for better results.” (
  • Parabol. “Software-facilitated retrospectives and check-in meetings.” (
  • “Create a free online meeting room with powerful collaboration tools.” (
  • “Get instant feedback from your meetings, workshops, and conferences.” (
  • Scriby. “A meeting notes platform that augments your calendar and makes your meetings *systematically* productive.” (
  • Slido. “Live Q&A, polls, and slides for your meetings and events.” (
  • Supercards. These beautiful Supercards enable you to communicate visually during your online meetings. (
  • TastyCupcakes. “Fuel for invention and learning.” (
  • Virtual card app. Cards for your phone to hold up when you’re on a group video call by Stephen Walker via GitHub (Inspired by the Collaboration Supercards).
  • Yack. “Combines automatically transcribed calls with instant messaging.” (

Standup Meetings/Status Updates

  • iDoneThis. “Daily check-ins and powerful progress reports.” (
  • Jackfruit. “Always-on video rooms for your Slack channels.” (
  • Olaph. “A Slack bot that facilitates daily standups for your team inside of Slack.” (
  • Stand-Bot. “Run asynchronous stand-up meetings in Slack. Keep your team up to date.” (
  • Standup Bot. “Standup Bot collects information from your team, organizes it, and posts it in one easy-to-find place. It keeps teams accountable, allows them to track goals, and removes roadblocks by getting your team back in sync.” (
  • Standuply. “Run asynchronous standup meetings via text and audio/video, and track team performance.” (
  • Standups. “Supercharged video standups for teams.” (
  • Weekdone. “Set structured goals to align activities throughout your organization. Track weekly progress, provide feedback, and move everyone in a unified direction.” (
  • WorkingOn. “Simple status reporting integrated into your workflow to improve team visibility.” (

Video Broadcasting

Virtual Icebreakers



  • Horbito. “Enables you to work with your files online from anywhere and any computer without having to sync, download or install anything.” (
  • Webjets. “The creative desktop for all things that matter.” (

Password Management

Task and Project Management

Note: There are too many task and project management tools to list. Check out these comparisons of project management software on Wikipedia and Cloudwards.

Time Tracking

  • Clockspot. “Track employee time from anywhere.” (
  • Clockify.  “Clockify is the only truly free time tracking software. It’s a simple time tracker and timesheet app that lets you and your team track work hours across projects. Unlimited users, free forever.” (
  • Harvest. “Time tracking and reporting that let you operate with insight.” (
  • Pendulums. “A free time tracking tool which helps you to manage your time in a better manner with an easy to use interface and useful statistics.” (
  • RescueTime. “Helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive.” (
  • SlimTimer. Create tasks and time how long you spend on them. (
  • Time Doctor. “Employee time-tracking software that helps you and your team get a lot more done each day.” (

Time Zones

Virtual Assistants

  • Donetown. “Match busy entrepreneurs and small teams with dedicated virtual assistants.” (
  • Moneypenny. A “pioneer with flexible staffing of home-based workers” since 2000; “experts on the future of work.” (
  • Time etc. “Gives you a U.S-based Virtual Assistant who’ll take care of your to-do list for a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive assistant.” (
  • VirtualEmployee. “From simple tasks like updating your database to complex ones like VBA Coding, our VAs [Virtual Assistants] can cover every task.” (
  • Zirtual. “Virtual assistants for entrepreneurs, professionals, and small teams.” (

Workflow and Process Automation




  • Beekast. “A dynamic presentation software integrating a space for real discussions and activities, generating ideas and facilitating decision-making.” (
  • Elin. “Elin finds development areas for the team and proposes action steps for the employees and managers to improve.” (
  • 15Five. “Makes continuous employee feedback simple to drive high performing cultures.” (
  • Officevibe. “Equips you with honest feedback from your team to help you proactively turn issues into conversations, and conversations into solutions before problems can form.” (
  • Perflo. “A better way to measure performance and increase productivity in teams.” (
  • Selleo Merit Money Service. “A 360-degree peer-to-peer feedback management responsive web application that enables employees to reward their coworkers with kudos (reward points that may convert to bonuses) as a token of appreciation for their colleagues’ efforts, performance, demeanor, and other aspects they deem worth rewarding.” (
  • Team Canvas. “The business model canvas for teamwork.” (
  • TeamMood. “Tool aiming to help managers to get a better understanding of what’s going on in their team, and to gauge the team morale on a daily basis.” (
  • Videoask. A ridiculously simple way to get feedback. (




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